SlapOS: 12 years of Edge Computing



  • The birth of SlapOS
  • Everything is a service
  • Internet is broken
  • Success cases
  • Future perspectives • •


The Birth of SlapOS - 2009


What is a Cloud?

A system which... Similar to...
runs all sorts of services worlwide on a distributed architecture grid computing
manages the order, delivery and billing of online services ERP or e-commerce
suppresses the need for sysadmins through automation configuration management or devops

SlapOS Architecture

  • ViFiB wants you to host cloud computing at home - IDG, June 15, 2010
  • SlapOS: A Multi-Purpose Distributed Cloud Operating System Based on an ERP Billing Model - Smets, Cérin, Courteaud - IEEE, 4-9 July 2011
  • Dynamic Resource Allocation in Cloud Environment Under Time-variant Job Requests - Tammaro, Doumith, Al Zahr, Gagnaire, Smets - IEEE, 29 Nov.-1 Dec. 2011
  • Practical solutions for resilience - Courteaud, Xu, Cérin - IEEE, Dec. 2012

Everything is a service - 2009

A service is a running... Like in... Pros Cons
x86 VM image AWS Portable, Isolation Very heavy, Slow IO
Linux/BSD chroot tarball Dotcloud Fast IO Heavy, not portable, poor isolation
Linux/BSD binary executable CFEngine Fast IO, Light Not portable, poor isolation
POSIX recompiled executable buildout Fast IO, Light, Portable Poor isolation
POSIX subprocess buildout Fast IO, Ultralight, Portable No isolation

Mark Burgess


Service facets: beyond build and run

Facet SlapOS Master Production Node Test Node Component
allocate resources     ERP5
build     buildout
instantiate     buildout
configure     buildout
share     buildout
detect anomaly     buildout
self-repair     buildout
test disaster recovery     buildout
account resources     buildout
report resources     slapgrid
test deployment     buildout
test continuous integration     buildout
bill     ERP5



Networking: Internet is broken


Juliusz Chroboczek: babel


Success cases: IaaS & CDN


Success cases: PaaS & Hybrid


Success cases: edge


Perspective: improvements since 2009

A service is a running... Like in clouds based on... Pros Cons
x86 ARM VM image microVM Portable, Isolation Very heavy, Slow IO, not real-time
Linux containers Namespaces Fast IO Heavy, not portable, poor isolation
Linux portable binary Snaps Fast IO, Light, Real-time Not portableLinux only, poor isolation
POSIX recompiled executable ZeroVM and successors Fast IO, Light, Portable, Real-time Poor isolation
POSIX subprocess Secure languages Fast IO, Ultralight, Portable, Real-time No isolation



Perspective: new service classes

A service is a running... Like in... Pros Questions
HTML5 worker Chrome Portable, Isolation, Light, Cloudless Memory? Security? IO?
WASI executable Wasmtime Portable, Isolation, Light Memory? Security? IO? ecosystem?
IoT firmware LiteOS, NuttX, RIOT Lower CO2 impact Memory? Security? ecosystem?
Non-POSIX subprocess cdnbye Portable, Isolation, Light, Cloudless Memory? Security? IO?

Solomon Hykes, a co-founder of Docker, wrote in 2019, "If WASM+WASI existed in 2008, we wouldn't have needed to create Docker"


Do we still need edge?

Goal Continental DC Regional DC Local DC On-premise Browser / IoT / UE
Distance (ms) < 50 < 2 < 0.5 < 0.1 0
Minimize cost      
Minimize application latency        
Minimize energy  
Survive Internet shortage      
Sub ms control loop      
Maximize transactions  
3D desktop virtualisation      
LTE vRAN      
NR vRAN   (✅)    



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